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Turn up the volume and blare Twisted Sister’s song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” while reading this blog post. On LinkedIn we’re seeing posts about the “The Great Resignation”. When you look at newspaper or if you turn on the radio you hear the statistics about millions quitting their job. I get the feeling that the media is loving this.

The Great Resignation

The kitschy phrase the media created in 2021 when 4M people quit their jobs “The Great Resignation” is real and it’s powerful. The idea that CEOs are now frustrated is laughable. When you live in an Ivory Tower it’s very easy to think that everything is OK. Employees are quitting their jobs because they’re sick of the working conditions, they’re looking for better salaries, and they’re hearing the about work from home arrangements with more flexible opportunities. The job descriptions of the past aren’t going to cut it now in attracting the new people to replace those handing in their resignations. I understand why people quit their jobs. I’ve been a headhunter/recruiter for almost 30 years.

My Great Resignation

Years ago, I quit my job and had my own flavor of great resignation. My boss texted me a day later and asked me to come back. He said, “What happened?” I replied: “Nothing happened.” He wrote “If nothing happened, why can’t you come back?” I wrote back: “Bill – Nothing happened and that’s why I’m leaving. Never a lunch, never a coffee, and never a dinner. Never a birthday card. Never an acknowledgement of landing a massive account, or a HUGE placement. NOTHING HAPPENED!”

What Bill was worried about was Bill. How would my quitting affect his revenues? How would he replace me? Bill didn’t text me because he wanted me there – he wanted the results of my hard work. The man knew how I made him an hour – yes, an hour!  He wasn’t texting me that morning because he missed my personality.

Bill knew exactly why I quit – there was no confusion. I’d spoken with him at length about the challenges and problems on quite a few occasions. He chose to do nothing about them. Now he was texting me with the hope we’d have a kumbaya chat and we’d make it work and everything would be fine.

That afternoon the texts asking me to return ended. He had recently sold his firm and was still on in a managerial position. I received an email from his new business partner that I should expect an email from their attorneys. I wasn’t sued but they did intimidate the hell out of me. That was 14 years ago, and I understand why people quit for the many reasons that force them to look for a new job.

If anyone is reporting that it’s ROSE ALL DAY when people are looking for a new job, well, they’re lying. Job search is hell. People are willing to go through that hell because their current employment situation is worse. Job search can be worse than the worst job you currently have and so for many they’re doing two jobs at one time: their current role and their job of finding a job.

Why Employees Quit Great Jobs

People don’t quit amazing jobs with great bosses and flexible company cultures. People don’t quit jobs where they were onboarded. People don’t quit jobs where the “senior leadership” doesn’t walk around like it’s IBM in the 1980’s. People quit jobs that have tracking devices on their laptops. People quit jobs where people are forced to stay in meeting after meeting after meeting with people who don’t value time. People quit jobs where they’re being forced to do the work of 3 people and be paid one salary. People are quitting jobs with horrible managers. People are quitting their jobs because they’re exhausted, and they know they can find better roles.

Let’s face one fact – no one wants to update their resume, or interview. Interviewing is like shoving a fork in your eye. Updating your resume? Shoving two forks – one in each eye. It’s tedious and a pain in the neck. Why do you think resume writers make so much money? They’re doing the job you don’t want to do (Sidebar – I don’t think you ever need a resume writer more on that in another post!)

When you look for a job there’s hours and hours and hours or preparation. Hours of administrative work. Hours of isolation followed by rejection. Emailing recruiters who never respond or being ghosted for interviews. How about interviewing at one company 12 times and then receiving an automated response. You must mentally prepare before entering a job search so if the media is reporting that people are just POOF quitting it’s simply not the case.

Some people are receiving an automated response saying “we’re reviewed your resume and it doesn’t fit what we’re looking for” in milliseconds after submitting to an ATS System. How would the company have time to review the resume and qualifications against the job description in milliseconds? They wouldn’t – I’ve seen many of those job descriptions and I can tell you that those people were more than qualified for an interview. This is only a part of what people are going through to find their new jobs.

Enter the Pandemic in Spring of 2020

Do you remember the Great Resignation of Spring of 2020? Millions were furloughed (which is a form of a layoff) and it was an incredible opportunity for companies to use the pandemic as an excuse. Companies laid off older workers. They laid off those on PIP’s (Performance Improvement Plans), and they laid off people who didn’t get along with their managers. When they cleaned house under the excuse of “Covid-19 their profits soared.

Those CEO bonuses? They weren’t affected. If you think that your employees aren’t thinking about that in 2022 – they sur as heck are and they’re putting their resumes together and interviewing aggressively.

How Does The Great Resignation Work For You?

So how does this “great resignation” work for you? How can it help your career? Here are my tips for dealing with the great resignation:

  1. If you love your job – Please don’t feel peer pressure or pressure from the nonstop news stories. They are looking for content, and they are not your friend. If you meet your friend for coffee and they’re miserable at their job, or they hate their job, and you like your job – don’t feel like you need to also update your resume. I don’t think people should ever quit their jobs just to quit their jobs. There needs to be a reason and it needs to be a good one. Anyone who has ever worked with me on their job search knows I will ask them to evaluate their current situation with a clear head. Is it that bad that you would want to look for a new job? If you’re positive, then let’s #gogogo (PS ON THIS make sure you’re receiving my emails because I can send you tools that will keep you organized and on task!) and let’s get you organized and your mindset in check for taking on a new job search.
  2. “Not all that glitters is gold” – Job descriptions are written to attract you. Companies hire writers to make even the worst job seem enticing. If you’re in a job search, please understand that companies write wish lists for job descriptions and if there’s too much listed you might be taking on a job that really is 3 in 1. Read these descriptions with a critical eye and see it for what it’s worth. Is it the same job you have? What are the benefits to it? Is everything listed in it doable? Do you have the skills for this position? Would you excel in this role or is it too much of a reach for you? Set yourself up for success from the moment you apply to a position, OK? Don’t set yourself up for rejection if you’re applying to a CEO role and you never had managerial experience, etc. You get my drift on this.
  3. Don’t tell everyone on the face of the Earth you’re looking for a job. Please remember if you’re in a situation where you’re planning on quitting your job loose lips sink ships. I really don’t think anyone should know you’re looking for a job. Please be very careful if you’re employed and looking for a job. If you share with your colleague on a zoom and you think it’s not being recorded, you could be making a terrible mistake. If that company owns the ZOOM account, they own what is said on there and they might receive a report of any meeting shared. You don’t want your manager to find out you’re interviewing because you couldn’t zip it with your colleague you refer to as your work wife or any nonsense like that. If you run into your neighbor when they ask how you are and you say “Well, I’m interviewing because you know so many companies are hiring right now!” you just might not know that your manager’s wife is behind you and recognizes your voice from being on calls with her husband. Think that hasn’t happened before? People are so cavalier about sharing first names and last names when they think no one is around. Always know that someone is listening. Best part of not sharing is that the less people you tell share about your job search the less you’ll avoid reporting back the status when they ask you “HOW IS YOUR JOB SEARCH GOING???”

When you watch the news and when you’re hearing that every company is hiring and it’s so easy to find a job – take it with a grain of salt. If you’re miserable go for It but if you’re complaining on something silly and being hyper focused on something that is fixable, please weigh your odds before you move forward. While many recruiters will tell you to hurry and put your resume together ASAP this gal is telling you to slow down and give it a good think before you throw your hat in the ring.